Super Bowl, Jimmy Kimmel Score on TV
ABC's telecast of Super Bowl XXXVII -- in which the Tampa Bay Buccaneers trounced the Oakland Raiders 48-21 -- averaged 88.6 million viewers, up 3 percent from last year's 86.8 million, according to preliminary Nielsen ratings.
About 137.7 million people watched all or part of Sunday's big game and it notched a 43.8 preliminary rating -- giving the Super Bowl its largest audience since 1998.
Last year, the New England Patriots' 20-17 upset of the St. Louis Rams on a final-play field goal scored a 42.5 overnight rating on FOX. The final national rating of 40.4 tied for the fourth lowest for a Super Bowl since 1972.
The highest Super Bowl rating was the 49.1 that CBS scored for San Francisco's 26-21 victory over Cincinnati in 1982.
Still, it wasn't all good news for ABC. The post-Super Bowl edition of Alias pulled in just 17 million viewers, a hefty drop from the game.
Meanwhile, ABC's new late-night talk show "Jimmy Kimmel Live," starring the former Comedy Central "Man Show" comic, attracted a network-pleasing 4.8 million total viewers, according to preliminary numbers -- despite the fact that it premiered at 12:36 a.m. Monday (a full hour behind schedule) following a lengthy Super Bowl wrap-up.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, that figure compares favorably with a post-Super Bowl episode of ABC's "Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher" in 2000, which started at 12:06 a.m. and drew 4.3 million viewers.